Blog Entry

Penchant for Pirates...

Posted on: August 15, 2008 10:44 am
Moving to New York at the ripe of age of one and a half, I grew up in one of the most amazing places in the world and for that I am eternally thankful. My parents relocated to Long Island from the city of Pittsburgh in the spring of 1973, leaving behind their entire life and more importantly their family. While we were able to quickly adjust to big city life, we continued to call Pittsburgh 'home'.

We made annual pilgrimages each and every summer to go 'home' and see the family. This is one of the reasons that I still consider myself a Pittsburgher. During these trips, we went to see grandparents, aunts and uncles and the rest of the family. It was during these trips that I was introduced to sports.

My god-father is an avid runner, waking up before the sun came up, feet continually pounding the dew laden pavement each and every morning. I can vividly recall many a morning watching him trudge his way back down the winding road yearning for the last few strides to be over. As he came down the driveway a smile would appear on his face as he saw me waiting for him to return. We would walk into the garage, stopping at the fridge to grab a quick drink and then we would go to the store. There was nothing special about the store, just a convenience store, he would make his way through the store grabbing a few things (I was not paying attention) making his way back to the register, he paused and grabbed a pack of baseball cards, smiled at me and threw them down with the rest of his items.

When we climbed into the car, he grabbed the pack of cards and handed them to me. Having never seen sports cards before, I looked at him as to find out what I should do... "Open them". My four year old hands could not pull the wax paper off the cards quickly enough. This was my nirvana, the cards appeared to glow in my hands, sixteen pieces of cardboard with glossy pictures, a fabric sticker patch with a batting helmet and of course the best tasting piece of gum I ever tasted.

It was in that moment that we shared a moment that I will never forget. As I shuffled through the cards, he noticed a Pirate and even more importantly the fabric sticker in the pack was a Pittsburgh Pirate batting helmet. I was hooked, that sticker made it's way on to my jacket and I proudly became a Pirate fan that day. Over the next few days we returned to that store, and I would just run from the car to the counter, not worrying about anything but my baseball cards.

Needless to say, this ritual continued and my love for the Pirates grew with each and every pack. Better yet, I came to find that they have football cards, and basketball cards and hockey cards, luckily this was not all at the same time as that would have been too much for me to wrap my four year old mind around. I now had a purpose, I was going to get all of my players, each and every season. This was before card shows and 'cheating' by buying individual cards, I was going to do it the right way, buy a pack with every quarter I came across and find my guys. Anybody that has ever opened a pack of cards knows the feeling that overwhelms you at that moment, the ritual of 'got'em, got'em, got'em, need'em, need'em' as you rifle through one pack after another is unique to that experience. The euphoria of finding the next Pirate, the next Steeler, and the next Penguin was second to none.

So here we are some 30 years or so later, the prices have gone up, the cards are fancier, the gum is gone, but every once in a while, I turn back into that four year old little boy, grab a pack of cards and rifle through them looking for my guys.

Category: MLB

Since: Dec 13, 2006
Posted on: August 20, 2008 12:20 am

Penchant for Pirates...

Wonderful memories shared by so many of us.  But I'm a little confused.  If you were 4 years old in 1976, there were no team logo patches in packs of cards then...just gum.  Fleer produced patches in the mid-late 70s.  Maybe you had some of each? It was a tough choice back then--the patches were colorful and fun, but the cards had the gum and the stats on the back!

 Topps did produce a cloth sticker set of 'baseball cards' featuring players during 1977.  They're somewhat hard to find. 

to read all about what's going on in the sports collecting world today. 

Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: August 16, 2008 8:46 am

Penchant for Pirates...

Ulysses Grant, TE for the Detroit Lions, found him in a cellophane pack, did not have the money, had to hide him way in the back... begged for my allowance early so I could get that card... very gratifying once the set is complete...

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: August 16, 2008 6:15 am

Penchant for Pirates...

I'll trade you one Dock Ellis card for your Roberto Clemente rookie card .... lol. 

Great story, one that I can relate to completely.  Thank you for it.  (I'm still upset that my mother got rid of my cards  )

Since: Nov 16, 2006
Posted on: August 15, 2008 4:31 pm

Penchant for Pirates...


I too remember the days of rifling through baseball and football cards. I rememebr the day that I got the last card that I needed to complete my set of 1987 Topps football cards. I didn't, as you say, "cheat" and go to a store or a card show to buy the cards I needed. I collected all of those myself, with my own money. I rememebr to this day the last card I needed and the day that I got it. The card was Kevin Butler, the kicker from the Chicago Bears at the time and the day was June 14th. That was one of the greatest moments of my childhood. Knowing that I did that all by myself was a thrill of it's own. Great story, thank you for letting us share in your memories.

Since: Mar 24, 2007
Posted on: August 15, 2008 11:41 am

Penchant for Pirates...

  What a wonderful story Pitt. I can see your passion in the words. Those are moment and the cards are the links to all those wonderful memories. Thank you for allowing me a glimpse. It is priceless.

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